(also known as Codex B)

Codex Vaticanus is considered to be the most authoritative of the Minority Texts, although it is responsible for over 36,000 changes that appear today in the new versions.


This manuscript was "found" in 1481 in the Vatican library in Rome, where it is currently held, and from whence it received its name. It is written on expensive vellum, a fine parchment originally from the skin of calf or antelope. Some authorities claim that it was one of a batch of 50 Bibles ordered from Egypt by the Roman Emperor Constantine; hence its beautiful appearance and the expensive skins which were used for its pages. But alas! this manuscript, like its corrupt Egyptian partner Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) is also riddled with omissions, insertions and amendments.

The corrupt and unreliable nature of Codex B is best summed up by one who has thoroughly examined them, John W Burgon: "The impurity of the text exhibited by these codices is not a question of opinion but fact...In the Gospels alone, Codex B(Vatican) leaves out words or whole clauses no less than 1,491 times. It bears traces of careless transcriptions on every page…" 

According to The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, "It should be noted . . . that there is no prominent Biblical (manuscripts) in which there occur such gross cases of misspelling, faulty grammar, and omission, as in (Codex) B."

 Consider these facts and oddities relating to the Codex Vaticanus:

  1. It was corrected by revisers in the 8th, 10th, and 15th centuries (W. Eugene Scott, Codex Vaticanus, 1996).

  2. The entire manuscript has been mutilated...every letter has been run over with a pen, making exact identification of many of the characters impossible. Dr. David Brown observes: "I question the 'great witness' value of any manuscript that has been overwritten, doctored, changed and added to for more than 10 centuries." (The Great Unicals).

  3. In the Gospels it leaves out 749 entire sentences and 452 clauses, plus 237 other words, all of which are found in hundreds of other Greek manuscripts. The total number of words omitted in Codex B in the Gospels alone is 2,877 as compared with the majority of manuscripts (Burgon, The Revision Revised, p. 75).

  4. Vaticanus omits Mark 16:9-20, but a blank space is left for that section of Scripture. The following testimony is by John Burgon, who examined Vaticanus personally: “To say that in the Vatican Codex (B), which is unquestionably the oldest we possess, St. Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly at the eighth verse of the sixteenth chapter, and that the customary subscription (Kata Mapkon) follows, is true; but it is far from being the whole truth. It requires to be stated in addition that the scribe, whose plan is found to have been to begin every fresh book of the Bible at the top of the next ensuing column to that which contained the concluding words of the preceding book, has at the close of St. Mark’s Gospel deviated from his else invariable practice. HE HAS LEFT IN THIS PLACE ONE COLUMN ENTIRELY VACANT. IT IS THE ONLY VACANT COLUMN IN THE WHOLE MANUSCRIPT -- A BLANK SPACE ABUNDANTLY SUFFICIENT TO CONTAIN THE TWELVE VERSES WHICH HE NEVERTHELESS WITHHELD. WHY DID HE LEAVE THAT COLUMN VACANT? What can have induced the scribe on this solitary occasion to depart from his established rule? The phenomenon (I believe I was the first to call distinct attention to it) is in the highest degree significant, and admits only one interpretation. The older manuscript from which Codex B was copied must have infallibly contained the twelve verses in dispute. The copyist was instructed to leave them out -- and he obeyed; but he prudently left a blank space in memoriam rei. Never was a blank more intelligible! Never was silence more eloquent! By this simple expedient, strange to relate, the Vatican Codex is made to refute itself even while it seems to be bearing testimony against the concluding verses of St. Mark’s Gospel, by withholding them; for it forbids the inference which, under ordinary circumstances, must have been drawn from that omission. It does more. By leaving room for the verses it omits, it brings into prominent notice at the end of fifteen centuries and a half, a more ancient witness than itself.” (Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel of St. Mark Vindicated, 1871, pp. 86-87)

  5. Similar to Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus identifies itself as a product of gnostic corruption in John 1:18, where “the only begotten Son” is changed to “the only begotten God,” thus perpetuating the ancient Arian heresy that disassociates the Son of God Jesus Christ from God Himself by claiming that the Word was not the same as the Son. John’s Gospel identifies the Son directly with the Word (John 1:1, 18), but by changing "Son" to "God" in verse 18, this direct association is broken.

  6. Linguistic scholars have observed that Codex Vaticanus is reminiscent of classical and Platonic Greek, not Koine Greek of the New Testament (see Adolf Deissman's Light of the Ancient East). Nestle admitted that he had to change his Greek text (when using Vaticanus and Sinaiticus) to make it "appear" like Koine Greek.

  7. Codex Vaticanus contains the false Roman Catholic apocryphal books such as Judith, Tobias, and Baruch, while it omits the pastoral epistles (I Timothy through Titus), the Book of Revelation, and it cuts off the Book of Hebrews at Hebrews 9:14 (a very convenient stopping point for the Catholic Church, since God forbids their priesthood in Hebrews 10 and exposes the mass as totally useless as well!).


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